STC Number - 93

Phytosanitary requirements for potatoes, garlic and onions

Maintained by: Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Raised by: Argentina
Supported by: Canada; United States of America
First date raised: March 2001 G/SPS/R/21, paras. 26-28
Dates subsequently raised: July 2001 (G/SPS/R/22, para. 131)
October 2001 (G/SPS/R/25, paras. 99-100)
March 2002 (G/SPS/R/26, para. 43)
June 2002 (G/SPS/R/27, paras. 54-55)
April 2003 (G/SPS/R/29, paras. 53-54)
June 2003 (S/SPS/R/30, paras. 36-38)
October 2003 (G/SPS/R/31, paras. 23-24)
March 2004 (G/SPS/R/33, paras. 63-64)
Number of times subsequently raised: 8
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0701 Potatoes, fresh or chilled.; 0703 Onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other alliaceous vegetables, fresh or chilled.
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Plant health; Undue delays
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2001, Argentina provided information on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's import restrictions on Argentine garlic because of Urocystis cepulae that had been imposed since 1997. According to the terms of the Andean Pact no quarantine measures had been adopted against Argentina. Regarding potatoes, Argentina had begun efforts to gain access to the Venezuelan market in 1996, and had provided the necessary information for a risk assessment. Argentina expressed concern at the seeming lack of will on the part of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to make progress on both issues. In addition, Argentina was concerned about a lack of coherence in the application of resolution 431 of the mandatory sanitary and phytosanitary standards of the Andean Community, which it would raise with the Andean Community. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela explained that there was no lack of will to move forward on these issues. Regarding garlic, the administrative process to set up the necessary protocols was ongoing. With respect to potatoes, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela believed that Argentine and Andean Community phytosanitary standards were not compatible. Colombia requested Argentina to submit its concerns to the Andean Community.
In July 2001, Argentina informed the Committee that bilateral meetings had been held, and although the problem had not been completely solved, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela had demonstrated a will to find a solution. In October 2001, Argentina requested a technical reply from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the questions raised during a recent bilateral meeting on the sanitary restrictions on potato imports, so as to facilitate the start of trading in this product. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela replied that it was seeking to prevent the introduction of pests that existed in Argentina but were exotic to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The sanitary services were evaluating the appropriateness of alternative methods, such as pest free areas, that would meet Argentina's legitimate trade concerns and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's appropriate level of protection.
In March 2002, Argentina informed that bilateral negotiations with the Venezuelan health authorities had taken place, but in the protocols agreed for importation on potatoes, garlic and onion the matter of certification and inspection visits by Venezuelan officials was left outstanding. In view of the seasonal nature of these commodities, Argentina was concerned that if the inspection visits did not take place soon, no exports would be possible before 2003. In response, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela noted that they were awaiting a proposal from Argentina on a convenient date for the inspection visit.
In June 2002, Argentina stated that there had been no progress in resolving the problems arising from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's restrictions on potatoes, garlic and onions. Argentina was waiting for the onsite visit which the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela indicated was necessary before trade could resume. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela stated that some revisions to its requirements had been made, and it was now organizing a technical visit to examine the pest surveillance systems in Argentine producing areas, with the hope of finding a solution to the problem.
In April 2003, Argentina informed the Committee that Venezuelan technical experts had visited Argentina to verify its claims of freedom from onion smut (Urocystis cepulae). Discussions had entered the final phase and the Argentine authorities awaited the publication of the Venezuelan expert report which should allow the resolution of this issue. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reported that bilateral consultations with Argentina had taken place prior to the Committee meeting and that the expert report should be available soon.
In June 2003, Argentina reported that it still had not received the final report and urged the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to inform Argentina about the results of the visit so that trade could be initiated. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela clarified that imports from Argentina were not prohibited but subject to certain requirements. Furthermore, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela had undertaken a risk assessment which provided the necessary justifications. The results of this assessment would be communicated to the Argentine health services as a part of the mutually agreed work plan.
In October 2003, Argentina noted that Venezuelan officials had visited Argentina in December 2002 to confirm the absence of onion smut. Argentina had received a report from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela just the previous week and hoped it meant the issue was resolved. The United States and Canada shared Argentina's concerns over delays or denial of import permits without scientific justifications. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela noted that the report had been sent to Argentina in March and an import protocol could now be completed.
In March 2004, Argentina informed the Committee that a technical document had been presented to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela during bilateral discussions held on 16 March 2004. Argentina and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela agreed to hold further discussions and hoped for a resolution on this issue. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reported that it had received the documents requested from Argentina and hoped for an early resolution on the issue.